Interviews TMJ Special

Taking Manipal to Vegas: The Blitzkrieg Story3 min read

June 23, 2016 3 min read

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Taking Manipal to Vegas: The Blitzkrieg Story3 min read

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From finishing third at IIM-Bangalore to winning at the Indian Hip Hop Championship, Blitzkrieg Dance Crew’s rise to prominence has surprised many. With the group’s victory at the Indian Hip Hop Championship, they not only become the first college crew to win the event but also qualify to represent India at the World Hip Hop Championship in Las Vegas this August.

The Manipal Journal caught up with Keshav Goyal, President of Blitzkrieg Dance Crew, to chart the ups and downs in the journey that led them to the title of India’s best megacrew.

Where does the story begin?
It begins in December 2015. We were left with just three seniors in the crew, John, Ananya and Vyshnav. We came up with an innovative sequence not influenced by other choreographers. The rest of the crew joined in January and started learning the new choreography.

What was the first test for the new choreography?
The first test was in IIM-Bangalore. Even though we finished third, we got a good response from the crowd which motivated us. The judges also gave us their feedback and recognized that our crew has the potential to grow.

After the event in Bangalore, we took part in Anandotsav, NMAMIT Nitte’s cultural fest. With a few changes in the performers and the choreography, we managed to claim the first position. At this point we started thinking that this choreography would really work and with every performance we introduced new ideas to improve on the previous one. We would never repeat a performance.

How did you qualify for Indian Hip Hop Championship?
We qualified for the Indian Hip Hop Championship by winning the event at NIT-K Suratkal, which was a qualifier for the national level event. We finished runners-up at NIT-Calicut’s fest ‘Raagam’ and we qualified for Indian Hip Hop Championship again since that event was also a qualifier.
We also took part in Revels, MIT’s cultural fest where there was a high level of competition and finished second in Utsav, the Inter-Manipal University fest.

Was it tough managing your studies and dancing?
Last year, the qualifier for the Indian Hip Hop Championship was in Manipal Institute of Technology(MIT), Manipal itself. We got through the qualifier but due to outside commitments of crew members, we could not take part in the event. We took a note of that and were mentally prepared to set aside personal and professional commitments to prepare and take part in the championship this year.

After Utsav, we decided to take a break from the daily dance practices to concentrate on our exams. Exams ended on May 17 and we stayed back in Manipal for two weeks, practicing 8 hours a day, before heading to Mumbai.

Tell us about Mumbai. What was the Indian Hip Hop Championship like?
We left for Mumbai on June 1 and once we reached the city, we relaxed since the journey was tiresome and you need rest before a performance. Our first performance was on June 3. It was a showcase performance where each crew had 30 seconds to show its potential. The final was on the evening of June 4. In the afternoon, we had a stage practice and as expected, the stage was huge. The finals began at around 6 in the evening and our performance was at 9 pm. We felt that we had done well. Our coordination came off well and the song selection and the steps were appreciated by the judges. But more than anything, we were glad for the exposure we got.

How did you celebrate the win?
We had a nice dinner at a roadside dhaba at 2 am in the night (laughs)

How do you plan to arrange funds for going to Las Vegas?
We are now looking for sponsors to help fund us. Manipal University has agreed to contribute and we are grateful for their support but we are still on the lookout for sponsors.

The crew has started a campaign on the crowd-funding website Ketto to raise money and represent India in Vegas.

Edited by Manasi Susarla